‘Avoid Alcohol, stepping out of home during day”: Health Ministry’s advisory for Heatwave 2023

With the mercury breaching normal mark and some places in the country already recording high temperatures the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has issued a detailed precuationary measures for the citizens to protect themselves from the iminent heatwave from March to May.  

On Tuesday the Union Health Ministry as part of national action plan on heat related illness issued directives to the states and UTs, advised citizens on how to save themselves from the scorching heat. March 2022 was the hottest March ever recorded in a century which led to power blackouts and affected crop yields.

“Avoid cooking during peak summer hours, open doors and windows to ventilate the kitchen adequately, avoid alcohol, tea, coffee and carbonated soft drinks and all drinks with a large amount of sugar as this actually lead to loss of more body fluid or may cause stomach cramps”, the advisory states.

“Avoid exposure to sunlight: keep windows and curtains closed during the day especially on the Sunny side of your house open them up at night to let cooler air in, if going outdoors limit your outdoor work to cool a times of the day that is morning and evening reschedule or plan outdoor activities during cooler parts of the day” the advisory further stated.

Union Health Secretary wrote to the Chief Secretaries and Administrators of states and UTs to monitor health related illnesses in the districts starting 1st March.

Guidelines for states and UTs

Ensure All the health facilities participate using P form level locking information and continue to keep line lists of cases and deaths as per prescribed formats, read the letter.

The daily heat alerts which are being shared by NPCCH, NCDC and ministry of health and family welfare with States indicate a forecast of a heatwave for the next few days and may be disseminated promptly at the district and health facility level.

The minister asked state district and city health departments to ensure the implementation of health action plans and support planning managing and assessing response to heat along with the responding agencies.

Health bodies must review there preparedness with adequate quantities of essential medicines, fluids, ORS and necessary equipment.